Prompt of the week

There are certain things in life that it is pretty much guaranteed we’ll all experience at some point or another – first kiss, passing exams, first job, falling in love, then out again….. they could all be described as ‘rites of passage’. The Collins dictionary has a couple of definitions of rite:

  1. a formal act which forms part of a religious ceremony
  2. a custom that is carried out within a particular group

Now, not being of a religious bent, I know not a lot about religious ceremonies, but, I do recognise that I indulge in lots of customs within my family, especially at Christmas. From watching ‘Carols from Kings’ on Chrismas Eve, to mince pies and bucks fizz for breakfast amongst the wrapping paper on Christmas morning, and noisy board games in the evening, the rites of Christmas day are set in stone (there are plenty more, but I won’t bore you). Of course, this year things may be different, we’ll still have those ‘rites’ but they may be postponed until we can get together… that might be Easter the way things are going…! I’ll record Carols from Kings just in case.

Anyway, I expect you’ve guessed what all this nonsense is leading to? Yep, this week’s prompt is:

Rite

Let’s hear about the customs/traditions of your family, or one of your own ‘rites of passage’, or perhaps a wedding or baptism, diwali, hanukkah, Wesak or Yuan Tan or any other religious festival that I haven’t thought of (sorry, I told you I know nothing..). As always write in any form you like – poetry, prose, fiction/non-fiction, give it a go. Actually, come to think of it, this site is getting a bit poetry heavy, a bit of flash fiction or some such would be most excellent! Can’t wait to read your pieces.

‘Smart’ by Andrew Bell

You’re smart because your dad was smart.

I’m simple because my mum and dad led
simple lives.

You’re smart because you can think
on your feet, and make speeches
without notes.

I’m simple because I don’t think like you
and don’t make speeches.

You’re smart because you think your Queen’s
English is a passport to success.

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‘Selection Box’ by Barrie Purnell

Barrie has written this in response to our last prompt ‘Object’. Barrie says:This was written from the point of view of a tree which is not
in control of its own destiny. Unlike a tree we have freedom
of choice, there is nothing inevitable about our own destiny.
No third party can determine our worth but if we ask “Why me?”
life is likely to answer “Why not?” There is nothing fair about
life except in the fact we all suffer the same ultimate fate.

SELECTION BOX

I was born in Brazil as a proud tall tree
When, with no thought to my future or history,
I was chopped down and fed to a paper mill
Then chipped and shredded and pulped until,
I was reduced by various machinations
To a fine fibrous slurry of human creation.

They bleached some of us so we were whiter
To become high quality paper for writers.
Handled with care as befitted their status,
Processed at great cost in stainless steel apparatus.
So it was by this casual act of selection
Their lives would take a different direction.

Continue REading

‘Your Country Needs You’ by Pete Brammer

“YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU” the notice read,
with Kitchener pointing a finger,
So Willie Johnson joined the queue,
An extremely fit, Arsenal winger.

The last time he’d held a gun in his hand,
Was playing Cowboys and Indians ’till dark,
Along alleyways, backyards and gardens,
As well as the local town park

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Object Challenge

This week, instead of a prompt, I’m going to set you a bit of a challenge! I have to be honest, I’ve pinched this idea from Peter Sansom’s excellent book ‘Writing Poems’ (available from Amazon and other bookshops (if they’re open…)), in which he has a whole chapter on ‘Workshops and Writing Games’. For this one he suggests writing in the voice of an object and gives various suggestions, including writing as:

A vacuum cleaner in shop window
A wardrobe in a hotel bedroom
A spoon in a bedsitter
A motorbike in pieces on a kitchen floor
A safety match in a box in a cardigan pocket

There are several more, but you get the gist, and of course you can think of your own examples.

Although I’ve filched these ideas from a book about writing poetry, I’m pretty sure you could use them as a starting point for a piece of fiction too. As always, use your imagination, let the pen fly across the page (or fingers across the keyboard), and just start writing. Can’t wait to see your work!

‘Watchword’ by Barrie Purnell

Words stare out at me from the screen’s constraint
Daring me to hit that button marked delete,
They watch me accusingly, as if asking why
Lines should be lost before the poem is complete.

They don’t realise this writer shares their pain,
Reluctant to consign words to the bin of history
That were paid for with anguish and precious time,
Torn so reluctantly from the memory.

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Elizabeth

This is a post from Writers Group member, Kaye Locke’s own blog.

Rebooting

After ‘Queen Elizabeth I by Nicholas Hilliard, 1533 – 1603

Oh, I bet that dress was heavy,
dripping with pearls and jewels,
and hangers on. The puffed up
sleeves on those young arms.
That frosty veil of lace
cloaking your drooping shoulder.

And that skirt.
Double, triple, layer
of silk and taffeta
and deep piled velvet,
dragging in the dirt,
wicking up the mire,
all heaped on your
virgin hips.

Did it weigh on you?
Did you need the fancy collar
to hold your chin aloft,
or just to stop the chain
from chafing
that pale and slender neck?

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‘Summer Tent’ by Angela O’Connor

February in Melbourne is hot, burn your feet on
footpath hot. Bubble the edges of roads hot.
Night-time is still.
And hot.

He sleeps outside.
Under the arms of the caressing willow, alone,
A mozzie net covers the ten-year-old delicacy.
Thin veil for bloody protection.

Above the stars and satellites criss-cross in chaotic beauty.
Blow up bed, old pillow and an even older blanket are his alone.
Morning finds a faery came during the night.
Tea and toast. Hot and buttery.

‘Loss’ by Andrew Bell

Why are we thinking more about loss?
We talked about it late into the night.
I said my mind would sometimes stray
beyond the horizon, witness remotely
the weather’s incoherence, in places
where fire and water were fighting back,
or listen to people on the streets beating out
rhythms to stop the madness… or screaming
about some biblical payback for generations
of self-defeating wars with nature.

But then, I would pull back, perhaps open
my notebook to find words to listen out
for nature’s version.

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Prompt of the week

Ok, so I was searching for a suitable prompt for this week when I came across this picture. Out of the 100s of pictures I was scrolling through it was this one that really instantly sparked my imagination, and I wondered if it would do the same for you too.

I liked the idea that you could be watching (see what I did there!) something through your watch. In fact, the tech is probably out there already, I’m sure James Bond has got it. But watching something surreptitiously has something of a sinister edge to it, so could make for an excellent poem, flash fiction, short story or even novel… go for it!! Of course, you may take something completely different from this picture, in which case, I’d love to see your interpretations. So I’ll leave it to you, but I’m off to write a dark ol’ poem!